Archive for the Category: Japanese

Word of the day – kai

kai /kai̭/ [Māori] (verb) to eat, consume, feed (oneself), partake, devour. (noun) food, meal. Related expressions include: kai moana = seafood, shellfish wāhi kai = café, restaurant (wāhi = place) hari kai = a song to entertain visitors as food is set out (hari = joy, happiness) The Māori word kai is mentioned quite a […]

Also posted in Hawaiian, Language, Maori, Words and phrases 12 Comments


épouvantail (nf) objet, mannequin disposé dans les champs, dans les arbres, pour effrayer les oiseaux et les faire fuir (scarecrow) familièrement personne présentant un aspect extérieur repoussant (bogey, bugbear) quelqu’un ou quelque chose qui effraie sans raison (fright) [source] For some reason we were talking about scarecrows or épouvantails at the French conversation group last […]

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Script charts

I decided to improve the script charts on the hiragana and katakana pages on Omniglot today – something I’ve been meaning to do to a long time. Here’s one of the new charts: As well as put improved charts of the kana online, I’ve also put links to Word and PDF versions of the charts […]

Also posted in Language, Writing 12 Comments

De bouche à oreille

Last night we were discussing how to encourage more people to come to the French conversation group and we concluded that word of mouth is probably the most effective way – all the posters we put up around Bangor last Saturday have yet to bring hordes of new recruits. We also thought that the French […]

Also posted in Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Language, Spanish 17 Comments

Mimetic bootstrapping

Yesterday I went to an interesting talk on Japanese mimetic words, which are onomatopoeia (擬声語 giseigo / 擬音語 giongo) or words connected to actions, emotions or states (擬態語 gitaigo). For example, くすくす (kusu kusu) – to giggle,ぐずぐず[する] (guzu guzu [suru]) – to procrastinate or dawdle. Researchers in Japan have found that Japanese mothers use a […]

Also posted in English, Language, Language acquisition, Linguistics 5 Comments

My favourite kanji

The author of a site offering online Japanese lessons has kindly offered one full account for free to Omniglot visitors. The site offers Japanese lessons for beginners, plus some material for more advanced learners. Some of the lessons are free, once you’ve registered, others are available after payment of an annual subscription. The account will […]

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Word of the day – 成語

成語 [成语] (chéngyǔ) are Chinese idioms usually consisting of four characters. They tend to pack a lot of meaning into those four characters and many have a story, myth or moral behind them from Classical Chinese literature, in which they were used extensively. If you’re not familiar with the stories, it will be very difficult […]

Also posted in Chinese, Idioms, Language Comments Off on Word of the day – 成語

Languages Quick Fix

Languages Quick Fix is a very useful site I discovered today. It includes words, phrases, and idioms in English, Chinese, Japanese, French, Spanish, and German, plus a basic introduction to each language. There are recordings of the words, phrases, and idioms in all the languages – in the case of Chinese, the recordings are in […]

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Japanese more difficult than Chinese?

An article I came across today, via Keith’s blog, argues that it’s a lot more difficult to learn Japanese than Chinese. The author of the article studied both Chinese and Japanese at the Defense Language Institute (DLI), and lived in Japan for over seven years. He feels confident about communicating in Chinese (Mandarin) and found […]

Also posted in Chinese, Language, Language learning 26 Comments

Word of the day – 和

In Mandarin Chinese, the word 和 (hé) has a number of meanings. On it’s own it is usually means ‘and’, but also means harmony, peace, to be affable, the sum, and ‘of Japan’. Here are a few words featuring this character: 和平 (hépíng) – peace; peaceful; mild 和鳴 [和鸣] (hémíng) – to sound in harmony […]

Also posted in Chinese, Language, Words and phrases 4 Comments
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